One Monday night adult class, with more than 20 students on the training floor, I asked, “Be honest, how many of you didn’t feel like coming to class tonight?”
One by one, they all raised their hands.
At the end of class I asked, “How many of you are really glad you attended class tonight?”
They all laughed, and every single one of them raised their hand.
Adults can make that rational leap to make themselves go, that they are going to be glad if they do. Kids live in the moment and don’t want to stop watching their shows, playing their video games or playing with friends to do something that is going to benefit them. They may have signed up because it was fun, and they have fun once they are here, but sooner or later, they are going to need YOU to be the right parent for them and get them to class.
Even incredibly fun things lose their charm. Imagine I took you on the same rollercoaster two times per week. After a while, it would be tedious, and I’d get tired of taking you. The difference is that rollercoasters are strictly for amusement, Martial Arts is an important part of creating happy, balanced, confident, and successful adults.
Why did you sign up your kid or yourself? Maybe to Improve their focus, to raise their confidence, maybe improve their self-discipline, possibly give them some impulse control, provide tools to manage their anger, give them a positive social environment with the “right,” success-oriented friends, get them in better physical condition, and to top it off, they are gaining the ability to defend themselves in the event of a life-or-death altercation.
This is not an activity people do to be amused for a season, like soccer, baseball, or basketball. This is an endeavor that can save your life, like learning to swim, and at the very least, provide character development to make life’s biggest challenges seem like tiny speed bumps. After all, earning a Black Belt makes every other challenge seem relatively small in comparison.
So, the solution…
1. Get them to class, recommit to the benefits you want from the training and recommit to your kids. They need you. No one climbs Mount Everest alone, it takes a team of people, doctors, dieticians, Sherpas, and guides, not to mention the encouragement of family. Earning a Black Belt is the same.
2. Make sure your child is doing something not-so-fun before class. No one wants to get off the couch, or put up the video games, even adults. If you say, “After you finish the vacuuming, we are going to martial arts,” you are going to get a much more agreeable participant.
3. Let us know you had some issues getting them there. We will give them a quick booster private lesson to re-engage them and motivate them. We are good at this.
4. Upgrade them. The Wolf Pack and Guardian programs offer so many additional benefits and fun training that we can’t even go into it all here. No, you don’t have to bring them more, although you can. We just change what class they attend on their “B” day, so you don’t have to sit in our lobby any longer than you currently do, unless you want to.
Remember those original goals you stated when you brought them to us? Maybe we completed them to your satisfaction. We hope so and we hear that a lot, but if you stay with it, there is even more. At no point, in the history of the world has anyone said, “Darn you Mom and Dad for making sure I earned my Black Belt.”